nep-mig New Economics Papers
on Economics of Human Migration
Issue of 2019‒05‒13
eleven papers chosen by
Yuji Tamura
La Trobe University

  1. OPT Policy Changes and Foreign Born STEM Talent in the U.S. By Amuedo-Dorantes Catalina; Delia Furtado; Huanan Xu
  2. Self-selection of Mexican migrants in the presence of random shocks: Evidence from the Panic of 1907 By Escamilla-Guerrero David; Lopez-Alonso Moramay
  3. Immigration and Secular Stagnation By Kaz Miyagiwa; Yoshiyasu Ono
  4. The impact of educational achievement on the integration and wellbeing of Afghan refugee youth in the UK By Gladwell Catherine; Thomas Jennie; Chetwynd Georgina; Majeed Saliha; Burke Carolyn; Stubbs Victoria; Zahid Seemin
  5. Climate change, education and mobility in Africa By Christoph Deuster
  6. Ethnic Identity and the Employment Outcomes of Immigrants: Evidence from France By Delaporte, Isaure
  7. Climate change, migration, and irrigation By Théo Benonnier; Katrin Millock; Vis Taraz
  8. Economic integration of Afghan refugees in the US, 1980–2015 By Stempel Carl; Alemi Qais
  9. Incentives to labour migration and agricultural productivity: The Bayesian perspective By Djuikom Marie
  10. Trainspotting: 'Good Jobs', Training and Skilled Immigration By Andrew Mountford; Jonathan Wadsworth
  11. Education and Geographical Mobility: The Role of Wage Rents By Michael Amior

  1. By: Amuedo-Dorantes Catalina (San Diego State University); Delia Furtado (University of Connecticut); Huanan Xu (Indiana University South Bend)
    Abstract: Academia and the public media have emphasized the link between STEM majors and innovation as well as the need for STEM graduates in the U.S. economy. Given the proclivity of international students to major in STEM fields, immigration policy may be used to attract and retain high-skilled STEM workers in the United States. We examine the impacts of a 2008 policy extending the Optional Practical Training (OPT) period for STEM graduates. Using data from the National Survey of College Graduates, we find that, relative to other foreign-born U.S. college graduates, the foreign-born who first came on student visas were 18 percent more likely to have their degrees in STEM fields if they enrolled in their major after the OPT policy change. While part of this increase is likely due to the rather mechanical drop in return migration among STEM graduates following the OPT change, the policy also appears to have induced some international students, who may have otherwise chosen a different field, to major in STEM.
    Keywords: Optional Practical Training, H-1B visas, foreign-born workers, United States
    JEL: F22 J61 J68
    Date: 2019–05
  2. By: Escamilla-Guerrero David; Lopez-Alonso Moramay
    Abstract: Using height as a proxy for physical productivity of labour, this paper estimates the selection of Mexican migration to the United States at the beginning of the flow (1906–08), and it exploits a natural experiment of history to evaluate the impact of random shocks on short-run shifts in selection into migration.The results suggest that the first Mexican migrants belonged to the upper ranks of the height distribution of the Mexican working class. Additionally, the financial crisis of 1907, an exogenous labour demand shock in the United States, significantly modified local migrant self-selection. Before the crisis, migrants were positively selected relative to the military elite of the time. During the crisis, migrants became negatively selected, but returned to a stronger positive selection after the crisis.The shift to a less positive selection was influenced by the absence of the enganche, an institution that neutralized mobility and job-search costs. The stronger positive selection in the post-crisis period was partially driven by persistent droughts in Mexico that increased the population at risk of migration.
    Keywords: International migration,Labour migration,random shocks,Self-selection
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Kaz Miyagiwa; Yoshiyasu Ono
    Abstract: We examine the effect of immigration on the host-country economy in the dynamic model that can deal with secular unemployment. Immigration has contrasting effects, depending on the economic state of the host country. If it suffers from unemployment, an influx of immigrants worsens unemployment and decreases consumption by natives. If instead the host country has full employment, immigration boosts native consumption while maintaining full employment, provided that immigrants are not too numerous. An influx of too many immigrants however can trigger stagnation. We also find that immigrants’ remittances are harmful to natives under full employment but beneficial under secular stagnation.
    Date: 2019–05
  4. By: Gladwell Catherine; Thomas Jennie; Chetwynd Georgina; Majeed Saliha; Burke Carolyn; Stubbs Victoria; Zahid Seemin
    Abstract: Unprecedented numbers of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children have arrived in Europe over the last decade, and young Afghans account for the highest proportion of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children across the UK. Despite research exploring the experiences of child refugees and asylum seekers, less is documented about the experiences of former unaccompanied minors after the age of 18.Using practice-based research, we draw on three new primary data sources to examine factors facilitating and impeding the socioeconomic integration and wellbeing of Afghan former unaccompanied minors. We demonstrate the role of education in creating socioeconomic opportunities, and show how unresolved immigration status detracts from wellbeing.
    Keywords: Migration,Education,Refugees,Youth,Qualitative research
    Date: 2018
  5. By: Christoph Deuster
    Abstract: What is the relationship between climate change and human capital ac- cumulation? Through which mechanisms do weather changes affect tertiary educational attainment in African economies? This paper investigates the potential link between climate change and high-skilled human capital formation in Africa. In order to do so, a two-sector, world economy model that endogenizes education decisions and internal migration decisions is developed. This stylized model predicts that negative climatic conditions increase the share of people moving internally from rural to urban areas. This in turn leads to a larger future share of individuals investing in tertiary education, because the access and returns to education are higher in urban areas. These theoretical predictions are empirically validated by a panel data analysis at the country level, and a cross-sectional data analysis at the province level. The panel data set includes 37 African countries and covers the time period between 1960 and 2010. The cross-sectional data set includes 111 provinces in 17 African economies. A linear regression analysis shows that weather changes and educational attainment are correlated. A Two-Stage least squares regression analysis indicates that this effect results from the impact of climatic variation on internal migration. The research leads to the conclusion that adverse weather changes may have the unexpected effect of increasing high-skilled educational attainment in African economies.
    Keywords: Human capital, Migration, Climate change
    Date: 2019
  6. By: Delaporte, Isaure
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is twofold: first, to determine the immigrants' ethnic identity, i.e. the degree of identification to the culture and society of the country of origin and the host country and second, to investigate the impact of ethnic identity on the immigrants' employment outcomes. Using rich survey data from France and relying on a polychoric principal component analysis, this paper proposes two richer measures of ethnic identity than the ones used in the literature, namely: i) the degree of commitment to the origin country culture and ii) the extent to which the individual holds multiple identities. The paper investigates the impact of the ethnic identity measures on the employment outcomes of immigrants in France. The results show that having multiple identities improves the employment outcomes of the migrants and contribute to help design effective post-immigration policies.
    Keywords: Ethnic Identity,Immigration,Employment,Polychoric Principal Component Analysis
    JEL: J15 J21 J71 Z13
    Date: 2019
  7. By: Théo Benonnier (ENS Cachan - École normale supérieure - Cachan); Katrin Millock (PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics); Vis Taraz (Smith College)
    Abstract: Climate change will affect both international and internal migration. Earlier work finds evidence of a climate-migration poverty trap: higher temperatures reduce agri- cultural yields, which in turn reduce emigration rates in low-income countries, due to liquidity constraints. We test whether access to irrigation modulates the climate- migration poverty trap, since irrigation protects crops from heat. We regress measures of international and internal migration on decadal averages of temperature and rain- fall, interacted with country-level data on irrigation and income. We find that irri- gation access significantly weakens the climate-migration poverty trap, demonstrating the importance of considering alternative adaptation strategies when analyzing climate migration.
    Keywords: International migration,Rural-urban migration,Climate change,Agriculture,Irrigation
    Date: 2019–04
  8. By: Stempel Carl; Alemi Qais
    Abstract: Using 1990 5% Census and American Community Survey data, we examine the economic integration of Afghan refugees to the US, focusing on employment rates and income levels. First-wave Afghan refugees (those arriving 1980–90) have made significant income and employment gains, while poverty rates and reliance on government assistance have decreased dramatically. The most recent wave is not doing as well at comparable points in time. Controlling for factors such as cultural capital, cost of living, and length of residence in the US, Afghan refugees’ incomes are the lowest of seven refugee/immigrant comparison groups.This is largely explained by lower employment levels, especially among less-educated Afghan women and highly educated Afghan women and men. Factors explaining this may include Afghans’ strong gender division of labour, greater levels of physical and mental disability resulting from pre-migration and migration traumas, and inability to develop occupational niches providing pipelines to jobs for recent arrivals and less-educated women. Highly educated Afghan refugees’ lower income is largely explained by the low incomes of those who earned their credentials outside the US. Although unmeasured, we suspect some of the unexplained direct negative effect of Afghan refugees on income is explained by anti-Muslim and anti-Afghan prejudice.
    Keywords: cultural capital,economic capital,Integration,Refugees,Migration
    Date: 2018
  9. By: Djuikom Marie
    Abstract: Understanding how internal labour migration affects the agricultural sector is important for all developing countries whose markets do not work well or are non-existent. In fact, even if the movement out of the agricultural sector can be viewed as a process to reach development for many African countries, this could lead to a negative effect on the rural economy. The availability of labour and the cost of hiring people to work on farms is an example of a problem that farmers may face in the presence of a critical level of labour migration.This paper investigates the effect of internal labour migration on agricultural productivity of rural households in Uganda. Since households select themselves into migration this raises the endogeneity problem. In order to account for the endogeneity of the migration decision and the fact that the effect might be different from one household to another, I model the households’ decisions to participate in migration along with their investment in agricultural productivity using the Bayesian treatment analysis. This approach allows me to self-match each household and to estimate a distribution for the counterfactual outcome.The results show that even if on average internal labour migration positively affects agricultural productivity, there are some households for which the effect is negative. Those households for which the effect is negative are mostly small farmers and are therefore more likely to be poor and thus more sensitive to the local price volatility. Moreover, the average effect of the labour migration tends to increase with the likelihood of participating in the internal labour migration. In parallel, I also examine to what extent previous migration rates, widely used in the literature as instrument for the migration decision, are exogenous to the agricultural productivity. It turns out that previous households’ decisions to participate in migration are intimately correlated with their current agricultural productivity.
    Keywords: Bayesian treatment analysis,Instrumental variable,Labour migration,rural,Agriculture
    Date: 2018
  10. By: Andrew Mountford; Jonathan Wadsworth
    Abstract: While skilled immigration ceteris paribus provides an immediate boost to GDP per capita by adding to the human capital stock of the receiving economy, might it also reduce the number of 'good jobs', i.e. those with training, available to indigenous workers? This paper analyzes this issue theoretically and empirically. The theoretical model shows how skilled immigration may affect the sectoral allocation of labor and how it may have a positive or negative effect on the training and social mobility of native born workers. The empirical analysis uses UK data from 2001 to 2018 to show that training rates of UK born workers have declined in a period where immigration has been rising strongly, and have declined significantly more in high wage non-traded sectors. At the sectoral level however this link is much less strong but there is evidence of different effects of skilled immigration across traded and non-traded sectors and evidence that the hiring of UK born workers in high wage non-traded sectors has been negatively affected by skilled immigration, although this effect is not large. Taken together the theoretical and empirical analyses suggest that skilled immigration may have some role in allocating native born workers away from 'good jobs' sectors but it is unlikely to be a major driver of social mobility.
    Keywords: immigration, training, income distribution
    JEL: J6
    Date: 2019–05
  11. By: Michael Amior
    Abstract: Geographical mobility is known to be crucial to the adjustment of local labor markets. But there is severe inequity in the incidence of mobility: better educated Americans make many more long-distance moves. I argue this is a consequence of larger wage offer dispersion, independent of geography. In a thin labor market, this generates larger wage rents (in excess of workers' reservations) in new job matches, particularly for younger workers who are just beginning their careers. If an offer happens to arrive from a distant location, these larger rents are more likely to justify the cost of moving - even if the offer distribution is invariant geographically. Also, local job creation will elicit a larger migratory response. I motivate my claims with new evidence on mobility patterns and subjective moving costs. And I test my hypothesis by estimating wage returns to local and long-distance job matching over the jobs ladder. Though I focus on education differentials, this paper offers new insights for understanding geographical immobility more generally.
    Keywords: geographical mobility, job matching, education
    JEL: J61 J64 R23
    Date: 2019–05

This nep-mig issue is ©2019 by Yuji Tamura. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.